Hardik Pandya may have scored just 20 runs against Pakistan – but these came in just six deliveries and contained three sixes hit in the last over. Needless to say, his cameo was the final burst of acceleration which played a huge role in dampening Pakistan’s chasing resolve.
But the Baroda all-rounder didn’t even know that he was going to come in before MS Dhoni. In an interview with the ICC, Pandya revealed that coach Anil Kumble sprang a surprise on him and sent him ahead of the former India skipper.
Thanks to brilliant knocks from Rohit Sharma (91), Yuvraj Singh (53) and Shikhar Dhawan (68), India were 285-3 in 46.2 overs when Pandya was sent in. Captain Virat Kohli (81*) was already in the middle.
“I got to know in the 46th over, when coach told me, ‘You will be going next, go pad up.’ Obviously, I padded up quickly and once I got my gloves, I went out straightaway because Yuvi paa got out.”
And needless to say, there was some pressure when he was sent on without the mental preparation.
“Honestly I won’t lie, pressure was there. But still at the back of my mind, I was thinking of it as a normal game because I didn’t want to take unnecessary pressure. In any game, I wouldn’t want to take unnecessary pressure on myself because that makes you do something that you are not supposed to do.”
The move paid off handsomely for India, with Pandya topping up his batting effort with taking 2 wickets as well.
As for strategy – Kumble got it spot-on. Hopefully more ammunition for him to stay on as coach.
Feature image source: PTI